Session put to premature death, Assembly adjourned sine die

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

If passing of some Law Bills as well as the Appropriation Bill – in a condition where legislative wisdom of the Opposition is not honored as   the basic necessity – is counted as success of the Government, failure of democracy would stand synonymous with this success.

Failure of democracy needs no proof, as the winter session of the Assembly has been pushed into premature death today, when the House has been adjourned sine die.

Background

By the day the Assembly was to commence, the State was entirely in turmoil due to exposure that chit fund cheats have bilked thousands of crores of rupees from more than one-fourth of the population of Orissa. Some of the close associates of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik were in judicial custody as under-trial offenders, when some more were in the investigation chamber of CBI under orders of the Supreme Court.Intriguing attempts of the State Government to use the Supreme Court to keep the CBI away from investigation into chit fund scams was not only rocking the minds of the people, but also was moving the needle of suspicion towards Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik who was marked for his patronizing cooperation with a chit fund swindling outfit SeaShore. Advocate General of the Government was apprehended by CBI for his dubious deal with another chit fund cheat under the banner name: Artha Tattwa. Shockingly, another man who was lawyer of chit fund cheat Prasant Dash was appointed as the new Advocate General, when the State was expected to prosecute the chit fund swindler. Alok Jena’s case in the Supreme Court had pointed out who of Naveen’s ministerial and party colleagues had taken how many crores of rupees from the chit fund operators; but they were not daring to counter Jena’s allegation. In such a situation, the Chief Minister was sure to have feared that the Opposition may strip him layer by layer in the Assembly over the chit fund scams. He would have been happy if the session could have not been convened. But, that was not within his power, as the supplementary budget was to be adopted and a few Law Bills were to be passed.

Modus operandi 

The House had commenced with adjournment and call-attention notices from the Opposition and the Treasury benches on the chit fund issue.

That was most troublesome for the CM.

Treasury bench members were eager to protect him at any cost, because their survival in politics was linked to his clean image.

Deliberately, therefore, a minister – Pradeep Maharathy – hurled sexual slangs at a lady member of the BJP – Radharani Panda – in the hall of the Assembly in order to provoke acrid commotions that would make the Speaker adjourn the House. Almost three days were lost to this design.

Modus operandi of the Chief Minister became clear when the treasury bench engineered adjournments under pretense of State Interest, after the House had regained normalcy with Maharathy apologizing to Ms. Panda for the nasty words he had hurled.

Further stronger methods to keep the House adjourned were devised in the guise of advice of the aforesaid Advocate General that has culminated in adjournment sine die today.

The Irony

The irony is that when the CM had not opened his lips in the House to revive the climate for it to proceed, after declaration of sine die closure, he has come out with words of allegation that the Assembly had to be adjourned sine die; because, the Opposition did not allow it to proceed. What a farce Mr. Patnaik has made of democracy in Orisa! 

The Assembly Imbroglio: Loser is the Chief Minister

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Despite fabulous majority – 117 members in a 147 seater Assembly – Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik looks like a pathetic loser, as a mere 30 member strong multi-party Opposition has put him on the mat where he does not dare to open his mouth.

At the crux of this imbroglio lies the chit fund felony.

Significantly, the Opposition is not holding the Cabinet, as a whole, responsible for this, whereas it has unambiguously pointed out at Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, who seems to have acted God Father to at least one of the crooks – Prasant Dash of SeaShore.

It should have been proper for Naveen to explain his position; because he is not an individual alone, but a Chief Minister.

It is not becoming of a Chief Minister to use silence as the best method of defense.

On the 14th day of its commencement, Orissa Assembly collapsed again to adjournment till 3 PM today after less than a minute of beginning of the Question Hour.

At par with our views, the daily Sanchar, founded and guided by the most astute member of Naveen’s cabinet Dr. Damodar Raut, also has opined that, the Chief Minister shouldn’t shy at the Opposition in the chit fund matter and rather should put forth with honesty the details of the scam as has come out in course of investigation, so that denigration of the image of the Government in the eyes of the people may stop.

But, instead of correcting himself, the Chief Minister has taken refuge in the ruling of the Speaker that the chit fund matter being sub judice, cannot be subjected to debates of the House.

This plea is abysmally poor.

From what the Opposition is stressing upon, it is clear that, it wants accounts of the Chief Minister on his suspected link with chit fund crooks. The Chief Minister’s link with chit fund crooks is never before any court of law. So, it is not acceptable that the matter is sub judice. It would fit better to legislative magnanimity if the Speaker recalls his ruling and allows debates on chit fund felony without any prejudice to matters before the court. Assembly secretariat should be used to apprise the members of what exactly is su judice. Beyond that, free debate on chit fund should be allowed.